Is soapy water a viable solution for handwashing in schools?
Despite the known health benefits of washing hands with soap, global handwashing rates are low. In Nyanza Province, Kenya, a follow-up of 55 pilot primary schools three years after the implementation of a safe water and hygiene intervention revealed that only 2 per cent (one school) provided soap for handwashing on the day of the assessment. After identifying barriers to soap provision, SWASH+ partners piloted a handwashing intervention using powdered soap mixed with water to create soapy water in place of bar soap in 11 schools. The first six months of unannounced visits showed high uptake (10 schools). A one-year follow-up visit revealed a decrease of soapy water use (four schools). This paper discusses the soapy water intervention, initial and follow-up monitoring findings, potential sustainability drivers of handwashing programmes in rural primary schools and next steps.
Sustaining school hand washing and water treatment programmes: Lessons learned and to be learned
In Nyanza Province, Kenya, a sustainability evaluation of 55 pilot primary schools 2.5 years after the implementation of the Safe Water System (SWS) intervention revealed that programme activities were not successfully sustained in any of the schools visited. The most common criterion met was drinking water provision. We identified six enabling environment domains: financial capacity; accountability; technical feasibility and availability; community support; school leadership and management; and student engagement. While these domains pertain to the sustaining of the SWS activities in schools, they are likely to be applicable in creating an enabling environment and serve as proxy indicators for other school water, sanitation, and hygiene initiatives as well.
Field report: Large-scale school rainwater harvesting systems: a pilot study in Nyanza Province, Kenya
In schools where water supply is either unavailable or insufficient, rainwater harvesting (RWH) systems may be a low-cost solution. We piloted large-scale RWH systems in rural primary schools in Nyanza Province, Kenya to investigate the sustainability of these systems several years post-implementation. This paper discusses the main findings of our pilot and, to our knowledge, is the only published study on school RWH performance in a low-income setting.